The debate, despite enlightenment and modernization, remains the same as that which Dante advocated in the Divine Comedy: is Islam evil or a religion of peace? On one side of the argument, and siding with Dante, is Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician and self-declared ‘Islamophobe’ in the real meaning of the word (fearing Islam as religion). Of course, for both Dante and Wilders (who is facing trial in his own country), Islam and the Qur’an are, in the very words of Wilders, ‘bad’ and ‘evil’. Wilders also used adjectives such as ‘retarded’, ‘fascist’ and ‘anti-democratic’ – thus dangerous and worthy of being banned. Different variations on a theme of ‘Islam is evil’ can also be found in the work of several authors, for example Robert Spencer, Bat Ye’or and Magdi Allam among many others. Continue reading
When Joseph Alois Ratzinger was elected Pope he selected the name Benedict XVI, a direct reference to Benedict XV, a Pope who had to witness the carnage of the First World War. Yet after the beginning of his pontificate, I start to think that Ratzinger’s decision to adopt the name of one of the less remembered popes was not just to celebrate Benedict XV’s human approach to the tragedy of the war, but rather Benedict XV’s late formed idiosyncrasy toward whatever could possibly smell of modernism and relativism. During the first year of Ratzinger’s pontificate we have observed a change in the attitude of the Catholic Church. Karol Wojtyla’s (Pope John Paul II) idea of the Catholic Church had a clear multi-strategy approach, which I may call ‘enlightened conservatism’.